Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Your Next Doctor May Not Be

Marguerite Harris and her staff of eight provide prenatal care and child immunizations, write prescriptions, and diagnose and treat ailments from diabetes to the sniffles.

Though it may sound like a typical doctor’s office, no one on staff at Project Salud is a doctor. The medical center is run by nurse practitioners — registered nurses with specialized training and advanced degrees — whose numbers have risen from 30,000 in 1990 to 115,000 today

When PCP’s get squeezed often someone new steps in to treat the routine illness. Your next doctor may not have M.D. after their name but rather P.A. or N.P.

More doctors are choosing something other than primary care, opting instead for the more lucrative specialties. A specialist generally earns considerably more and works fewer hours.

Given this trend, your next doctor may not be a doctor. Paging Maria Welby?

(Authors note: I recognize the fact that N.P.'s and P.A.'s are and can be either gender. The last comment was to simply make a point and not intended as sexist).
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